Not many people make Webberville, Michigan, a stop on their tour of the state that Tim Allen loves so much. It's a tiny, sleepy town surrounded by farms and factories. The landscape is flat and green and unremarkable – unless you find irrigation machines exciting.
sign says "PUB," perverts.
And tucked away, 30 seconds from the highway offramp, is the Michigan Brewing Company. Note, for the discriminating of eye, that we visited the Michigan Brewing Company's actual brewing location: not their pub in Lansing. It's still furnished with a fine pub, however, complete with fresh beer selections and a great (although limited) kitchen. Which doesn't bother me in the least: I'm certainly no fan of kitchens that offer 7 pages of mediocre and unoriginal dishes; when you can make a fantastic pulled pork sandwich, don't bother trying to expand beyond what you know.
I...I ate several fries before remembering to shoot a picture.
The service was friendly and knowledgeable and very attentive. Our waitress was relatively new, but didn't hide her lack of knowledge with bluffing; when we had questions about the beer, she promptly got someone who could answer our questions. The food was very good, although admittedly I wouldn't drive across the country for it. It was bar food, and it was better than I expected. The high point was by far the sweet potato fries (pictured above with my pulled pork, cole slaw, and pickle sandwich).
I'm not really confused as to why sweet potato fries are not more popular: done wrong, they are soggy and have no taste beyond the seasoning thrown on them minutes before served to the victim. These fries, on the other hand, don't have any of those problems. Thick and crispy like potato wedges should be, with the extra flavors only sweet potatoes can provide. These sweet potato fries are not only some of the most tasty I've eaten, they're up there with some of the best sides to a bar sandwich I've ever had.
Never have I been happier with my choice of samples than when I ordered the Celis beers.
The nachos, similarly, were very good: covered in chili, home made salsa, and all of the toppings one expects on nachos. Crispy tortilla chips generously covered in cheese served as a base for this fine dish. I should probably mention that the picture above is a half order. Michigan Brewing Company doesn't screw around.
Optical illusion aside, that is not a glass of IBC root beer.
The beers were fantastic, although I have to admit their strongest contender is one I've reviewed here before. I've yet to find a Michigan IPA that's as simple and as drinkable as the high Seas IPA. Their Celis Raspberry, on the other hand, we avoided. Their standard Amber and Porter were good: well balanced but not quite as perfect as the Grand Rapids Brewing Company. We had a chance to add the Celis white to the beers we've tried. . . also not a great addition to their stable. A belgian white is, apparently, a more difficult beer to make properly than I had assumed. In my experience, few breweries can compete with Jolly Pumpkin's offering.
The Michigan Brewing Company's atmosphere, food, and beer selections are more than I would've expected from a tiny town halfway between Lansing and Livonia, and a trip well worth making if you're visiting either town. I rate this brewery as a 20 mile brewery; if you're taking I-96 to Detroit, or heading back west to visit Grand Rapids, it may be worth the stop.